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Windows 10's pandemic support extension: What it means

Microsoft’s recent adjustments to Windows 10 will create a pile-up of deadlines later this year when three different editions exhaust their support almost simultaneously.

In the last five weeks, Microsoft has extended support for two versions – Windows 10 1709 and Windows 10 1809 – by six months each, part of the company’s concessions to the chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • For version 1709, Microsoft added six months to Windows 10 Enterprise’ and Windows 10 Education’s support, pushing retirement from the 30-month mark at April 14 to the 36-month milestone at Oct. 13.
  • Meanwhile, version 1809 received an extra six months for Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro, moving their end-of-support dates from May 12 to Nov. 10 as the total months of support climbed from the standard 18 for those SKUs (stock-keeping units) to 24.
  • Deadlines for Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education, given 30 months for 1809, remained unchanged at May 11, 2021.

As Figure 1 shows, the extensions to Windows 10 1709 and 1809 pushed their end-of-support very near the end-of-life for Windows 10 1903, an 18-month upgrade.

windows 10 covid support extensionsIDG/Gregg Keizer

Windows 10’s schedule laid out. The black lines pinpoint the extensions Microsoft gave to versions 1709 and 1809. Red lines illustrate the near-simultaneous retirement deadlines for those upgrades as well as 1903.

Three deadlines will occur within a span of 57 days, on three consecutive Patch Tuesdays:

Windows 10 1709 Enterprise/Education: Oct. 13 Windows 10 1809 Home/Pro: Nov. 10 Windows 10 1903 Home/Pro: Dec. 8

Why it matters

Normally, no more than two Windows 10 retirement deadlines coincide: The end of support for Enterprise and Education running a version yy09 will, schedules being met, dovetail with the end of support for Home and Pro running the yy09 version of the following year.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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